Written by a former tour operator and guide

Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles in Australia - Port Campbell National Park. Discover what to see and do along the Ocean Road on a self-drive vacation or by bus tour from Melbourne.
Great Ocean Road and 12 apostles in Australia - Self-Drive Itineraries
Great Ocean Road - Discover beautiful Waterfalls of the Otways, bushwalking trails and rainforest.


The Great Ocean Road is a spectacular drive, taking in many stunning beaches and wonderful forest areas with sweet little seaside towns offering superb accommodation options along the way.

The world-famous 12 Apostles, rainforest walks, waterfalls, historic lighthouses, and koalas in the wild all make this one of the best drives in Australia.

One day self-drive trips down the Great Ocean Road are popular as well as bus tours, though, if you have time… a couple more days can easily be filled seeing so much more.

Most of the Great Ocean Road follows the coast and winds around cliffs, sometimes climbing high with distant views along the coast and out to the Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean, other times dipping down to sea level where travelers can feel the thunder of the waves and explore the many beaches and rock pools.

The Great Ocean Road, Australia - Cape Otway Lighthouse, Koala in the wild & Maits Rest Rainforest walk
A number of viewpoints along the way provide visitors with time to breathe in the salty air and read historical markers.

The road then goes inland through rainforest and farmland before climbing over the top of the Otway Ranges and back down to what is known as the ‘Shipwreck Coast’ before reaching the famous rock formations of the Twelve Apostles.

The Great Ocean Road, Australia - The 12 Apostles

The return trip from Melbourne is more than 500 km’s and best explored over two days or more if time allows. It is possible to do the trip in one day of course and many visitors do it this way, either self-driving their own car, a rental vehicle or by tour bus. Cycling and motorbike touring are also popular options.

Camping and caravan parks are easy to find all along the coast, some are free camping sites, most vary between resort style caravan parks to basic bush camping spots.


The Ocean Road is a memorial to those who fought and lost their lives in World War I. Built by returned servicemen, it was a huge engineering task that ended many years of isolation for the township of Lorne and surrounding communities.

Plans first began in the 1880s and became a reality towards the end of the First World War. The proposal was made that funds be provided for the employment of returned soldiers building roads in underpopulated regions. The plan was described as the ‘South Coast Road’ following the coast around Cape Otway and ending near Warrnambool.

Find all our suggested touring itineraries here…

Historic Images of the Great Ocean Road, Australia